The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War was marked with visual displays around the College, a poignant service of Remembrance, and cadets reliving the lives of fallen soldiers. The Epsom community reflected on the 334 Old Epsomians who paid the ultimate sacrifice in active service – some 163 OEs lost their lives in the First World War, 151 in the Second World War and 20 former pupils have died in other conflicts throughout the world.
A Service of Remembrance held on Friday morning in The Chapel of St Luke saw students, staff, governors, OEs and guests commemorate those who lost their lives in the service of their country.
Senior Chaplain, Canon Paul Thompson, presided over the service. The guest preacher was the Dean of Guildford, The Very Revd. Dianna Gwilliams, who blessed and dedicated the College’s new war memorial (see below). We were honoured to invite Mr Peter Dodd, OE and former member of Rosebery House, to lead the unveiling ceremony.
The CCF brought in their standards/banners and laid them on a pile of military drums at the foot of the high altar. This act replicates a field service that would have been carried out by Army Chaplains through the years. Often, on the eve of battle, the Army Padre would gather his regiment to say prayers and sing hymns ahead of ensuing conflict.
Dr Alastair Wells, Chair of Governors, and Mr Jay Piggot, Headmaster, laid wreaths within the Chapel.
Ben MacDowel, CCF Contingent Commander, recited the Ode of Remembrance: ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them’.
To conclude the service, College Prefects laid poppy crosses bearing the names of each House, and the Head of School laid a poppy wreath in the form of a cross on behalf of the whole School.
Unveiling of the War Memorial
A War Memorial was unveiled today following the Remembrance Service in St Luke’s Chapel. The Memorial stands as a permanent reminder to honour all those from the College community who have given their lives in the cause of freedom and peace.
The memorial is a statue of an unnamed soldier, standing at ease with head lowered in the act of remembrance. The figure is clothed in standard uniform so as to be timeless. The statue commemorates the OEs and staff of Epsom College who fought or gave their lives in service – marking a variety of 19th Century battles, the Great War, World War II and all subsequent (and future) conflicts.
Sculpted by Marcus Cornish, an established figurative sculptor, it is in buff-colour ceramic stoneware and mounted on a red brick plinth with stone cap, to complement the Victorian red bricks of St Luke’s Chapel. An inset stone bears the inscription, ‘We Will Remember Them’.
Over £8,000 was raised for the memorial, and the Education Trust would like to thank all OEs and parents who contributed via the Annual Fund, and to everyone who played a key role in making it happen. Particular thanks go to Peter Dodd (R 1943-47) and the OE Lodge. Also involved in the project were the Art Department, College Chaplaincy, Archives, CCF and the Estates Team.
Gold leaf panels honour the fallen
During half term, sign writer Simon Thrower crafted in striking gold leaf the names of the OEs who died in the early wars and the First World War onto the wooden panels in St Luke’s Chapel. It has taken many years of archival research to bring together a definitive list of those that died. As late as 2017 a name was added to the list.
We were fortunate to engage Simon Thrower to perform this task. A second-generation craftsman he and his father’s work features on many prestigious honours boards across Surrey. Simon has continued in his father’s footsteps and still uses the traditional style of free-hand signwriting.
College adorned in poppies
The College grounds have been awash with red poppies for the past few weeks – from the striking display greeting visitors at the front entrance, to the Garden of Remembrance, and the larger red poppies dotted around the estate. The College has also taken part in the There but not There campaign, evidenced by the silhouettes of ‘Tommy’ soldiers around the grounds campus and within Chapel.
Jill Murray, who works in the College Shop, has collated a display of hand-painted poppies, each bearing the names of the 163 OEs who gave their lives in the First World War – these can be viewed in the window of the College Shop.